I Guess This is Why We Are Christians, huh? By Brendan Armitage Before he was killed, Jack Beaton, of Bakersfield, Ca., shielded his wife, Laurie, from gunfire, his family said. His father-in-law, Jerry Cook, told BakersfieldNow.com that Mr. Beaton had covered his wife's body with his...
Zion Church accepts all the canonical books of the Old and New Testament as the divinely inspired, revealed, and inerrant Word of God and submits to this as the only infallible authority in all matters of faith and life. As brief statements of the doctrines of the Word of God, this church accepts and confesses the ancient ecumenical creeds: the Apostolic, the Nicene, and the Athanasian. As further elaboration of our beliefs we accept the unaltered Augsburg Confession and Luther's Small Cathecism. Our statement of faith is contained in our teaching statement below.
TEACHING STATEMENT: What We Believe and Teach
1. GOD, THE FATHER We believe and teach that there is one true, holy God, eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that God is spirit (John 4:24), indivisible (Deuteronomy 6:4), of infinite power and wisdom (Jeremiah 10:12), and goodness (2 Chronicles 7:3, Matthew 19:17). We believe that God created all things, visible and invisible, and that He continues to sustain and preserve all things in accordance with His own gracious will.
2. JESUS, THE SON We believe and teach that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of the world. We believe Jesus is the word of God made man, that he was in the beginning with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and that all things were created through him. (John 1:1-5, 14) We believe and teach that Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, born of the virgin Mary, was sent to suffer and die on the cross as a sacrifice for the sin of the world. We believe that he was raised from the dead by the power of God so that we might receive forgiveness of sin and everlasting life with God in heaven. We believe and teach that Jesus will return at the end of time in judgment (John 5:27-30; 14:1-3). We believe that just as Jesus was obedient to the will of God the Father, we too, should be imitators of his obedience and life and therefore love and serve as he did (Ephesians 4:11-13; 5:1-2).
3. HOLY SPIRIT We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit, is active in the lives of people today (John 14:16,17). We believe that the Holy Spirit is at work calling us, building us into a holy temple (Ephesians 2:22), and teaching us how to live the new life we have been given in Christ (John 16:13-14; Romans 8:13-16; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We believe that the Holy Spirit leads people to a saving faith in Christ and is the source of our unity as Christians (John 3:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 5:18). A natural response to God’s love is a desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
4. THE BIBLE We believe and teach that all the canonical books of the Old and New Testament as a whole and in all their parts are the divinely inspired, revealed, and inerrant Word of God and submit to this as the only infallible authority in all matters of faith and life. We believe that the Bible is true and bears witness to the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ, the word made flesh, who alone is the way, the truth, and the life. (John 5:39, 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
5. SALVATION We believe and teach that we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no other means by which we can be saved except through coming to know Jesus as Savior and Lord (John 14:6). Salvation is not something that we can earn or attain on our own. This was God’s choice, so that we would in all matters learn to be dependent upon Him (John 1:12-13, 3:16; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8-10).
6. THE CHURCH We believe and teach that Christ is the head of the church which is gathered by the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Holy Spirit calls and gathers believers together in order that we may be empowered and equipped to carry out the Great Commission of Christ to go out and preach, teach, baptize, and make disciples of all nations. We believe that the purpose of the church is to bear witness to Jesus Christ. (Matthew 5:14-16; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 1:13, 2:22). We believe that Christ instituted the church and that it is central to His plan to seek and save the lost (Matthew 16:18). We believe that when the church is in the Spirit of the Lord that it is the closest possible manifestation of the kingdom of God in the here and now (John 13:34 35).
7. DISCIPLESHIP We believe and teach that Christian life is lived out in the call of Jesus, “Follow me.” Discipleship is a life-long call to obedience, love, service, study, prayer, worship, fellowship, stewardship, and spiritual growth. (Matthew 5:13-14). We believe that an essential part of discipleship is making fully devoted followers of Christ. In discipleship we become students of Jesus and learn how to live the new life we have through him by following his example and growing in maturity to Christ-likeness (Matthew 28:19-20).
8. SPIRITUAL GIFTS We believe and teach that God has given to every believer spiritual gifts. We believe these gifts should be discerned through prayer, study of the Scriptures, and mutual conversation. These gifts should be employed in the ministry of the body to the glory of God and in service to the world (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:11-16). We believe that all these gifts are worthless without the greatest of all gifts, love. (1 Corinthians 13).
9. BAPTISM We believe and teach that baptism is a natural response to hearing the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ and leads to new life in him (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38, 8:36-38; 22:16). We believe that baptism is an act of God through which we receive forgiveness of sin, incorporation into the body of Christ, and become actual participants in his suffering, death, and resurrection to eternal life (Mark 16:16; Romans 6:3-11; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13). We practice both infant and believer’s baptism by sprinkling or immersion.
10. THE LORD’S SUPPER (COMMUNION) (Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25) We believe and teach that in accordance with the words of Christ, “This is my body,” and “This is my blood,” (Matthew 26:26, 28) the bread and wine we receive at the Lord’s Supper is the body and blood of Jesus. We believe that through faith in Jesus Christ we receive forgiveness of sins as He promises (Matthew 26:28). We believe that Jesus commands us to participate in the Lord’s Supper, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).
11. SIN We believe and teach in accordance with Scripture that sin entered the world through Adam and Eve and that because Adam sinned, we have all sinned (Romans 5:12-14). We believe that because of sin the world and all people are broken and in need of a savior, who is Christ the Lord (Romans 3:23). We believe that Jesus came to earth, taught, and at the right time, took the entire sin of all people from all times upon himself and died as a sacrifice to the righteousness of the Father in heaven (Romans 5:1-11). In so doing he died the death we ought to have died and deserved, and that by his grace, through faith, we have salvation, the forgiveness of our sins. We believe that one day we shall stand, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, before the throne of God, and shall be pronounced “not guilty” because of Christ and given entrance to heaven where we will live and reign with him forever. We believe that sinners, through faith in Christ, can be changed and become brand new people.
12. HELL We believe, in accordance with the teaching of Jesus, that there is a hell, a place where people are subjected to torment and eternally separated from the presence of God. (Matthew 5:22,29,30, 10:28, 18:9, 23:33; Luke 12:5, 16:23; 2 Peter 2:4).
13. THE DEVIL We believe that the Scriptures clearly reveal the existence of personified evil in the person of Satan, the devil. Satan was an angel, created by God, but who rebelled against Him and was cast out of God’s presence. Satan, as a usurper of God’s kingdom and authority, has established his own kingdom of lies and deceit and rules the forces of darkness and evil. We believe that Satan’s ultimate defeat, along with all those who follow him, was secured by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. (See Revelation 12:7-9; 2 Corinthians 11:14; Colossians 1:13-14; Ephesians 2:1-2, 6:12; Mark 3:22-26; 1 John 5:19)
14. MARRIAGE We believe and teach that God established and ordained marriage between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:21-25) in order that they may share their lives together in a spirit of genuine love and mutual submission to Christ and to each other (Ephesians 5:15-33). Marriage is the foundational building block of society and God established marriage to bring forth families (Genesis 1:28) and from families, nations, to serve and honor Him. Because it is God who establishes marriage and not human authority of any kind, it is important that a couple honor their vows made before God and witnesses. It is also important that the Church, along with friends and family of the married couple, should do all they can to nurture and enrich the marriage relationship between husband and wife. Jesus affirms marriage between a man and woman (Matthew 19:3-6) and affirms that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16, Matthew 5:31-32. Matthew 19:8). We welcome and accept people who have experienced the brokenness of divorce or who have engaged in sexual relationships outside of marriage as forgiven sinners who, like all Christians, rely on Jesus for forgiveness and new life. We believe that, in Jesus, forgiveness and new beginnings are possible for all people. We seek to do all within our power to avoid divorce, but, because of human brokenness, acknowledge, along with Jesus, that it is a reality in our sinful, broken world (Matthew 19:7-12 ). We do not acknowledge the existence of any other form of God honoring marriage than between a man and woman.